Jatka Conservation Week-2016 began across the country on Wednesday to create mass awareness on preserving Jatka (Hilsha fry) for boosting its production.
The Department of Fisheries chalked out various programmes at upazila and district levels in the country's coastal region marking the week. The slogan of the week is 'Let Jatka Grow up: Our Golden Days to Come Back'.
"The Jatka Conservation Week started from Ramgati upazila in Laxmipur through a boat rally," Fisheries and Livestock Minister Sayedul Hoque said in a press conference held at Matshya Bhaban in the capital yesterday.
About 11 percent of the country's fish output come from hilsa, which contributes to one percent of total GDP. About five lakh fishermen directly depend on hilsa fishing while about 25 lakh on its selling, processing and transportation, the minister said.
Because of the various steps taken by the government to conserve hilsa, its production went up by 3.87 lakh tons last year, which is around 2,000 tons more compared to the previous year. This year, a huge quantity of hilsa was caught from the rivers of southern region during the last two months.
The production of Hilsha was only 27.1 lakh tons in 2008-09 when the present government took power.
As the fishermen in the country's coastal belt are very poor, the government is distributing food grains among them to prevent themselves from jatka catching. About 1.59 lakh tons of food grains were distributed among fishermen families during last six months under the government's Vulnerable Group Feeding Programme (VGF) programme of the government.
The Fisheries Minister urged all to come forward to stop jatka catching, processing and selling, and help the government boost hilsa production during the ban period.